Three Weeks Later…

Another lunch at the airpark yesterday. The usual Saturday cast of characters were there — a gray haired lady in a white SUV with her two dingo-looking dogs. There was an older couple in a Ford Escape sharing a hamburger and critiquing the landings. And of course, a few cars with tinted windows — teenagers smoking their boredom away.

There was a car I hadn’t seen previously though — a sporty black sedan. A skinny teenager with greasy hair sat in the passenger side staring at his phone while the driver, presumably his father, sat at the picnic table next to the car eating a burrito. He was a stocky man with a few tattoos. He looked like he worked out, but that he also ate a lot of burritos and knew his way around the beer aisle.

He was friendly as mom and I walked by, asking me where I worked out — musta been my sleeveless t-shirt. I explained that my home gym and that was is my domicile for making meat these days

“Yeah, me too…“ he said.

He looked to be my age. We made small talk about how the heavy toll iron takes on aging bones. He wished mom and I a good day and went back to his burrito. He seemed like a nice guy and I enjoyed talking with him. That’s when I recognize his car…

Several weeks ago, while riding out of town, I had an unprovoked altercation with a motorist. Below is my journal entry from that day…

About a mile out of town yesterday, a black Cadillac CTX passed me. The driver honked his horn several times as he cut in toward the bike lane. I caught up to him at a red light and looked in the open passenger side window. I never said a word. I was just curious who honked at me — if I knew the person. 

Before light turned green, the man left his car and ran toward me yelling obscenities. Startled, I stayed on my bike but prepared for an altercation. He stood a couple feet from me, and even at that distance I could smell alcohol — lots of it. He continued to scream. The passenger, apparently his teenage son, exited the car and caught the man from behind, putting him in a headlock. Without hesitation I took off on my bike. As I rode away, I heard the young man yelling…

“Get back in the car dad…!“

Moments later, I heard the same car honking behind me once again. He followed me at my speed, roughly 20 mph. I didn’t think he’d do anything other than drive away pissed when suddenly he drove into the bike lane ahead of me. I don’t think he wanted to hit me, just scare me. As this happened, a couple men in a Pathfinder wedged their vehicle between me and the Cadillac, shielding me at my speed. They signaled if I wanted them to call the police. I nodded yes.

They stayed with me as a shield, while the man in the Cadillac stayed behind them honking continually. At that point there were probably 20 cars behind the Cadillac — all wondering what the hell was going on, as was I. I’d never seen this man in my life, and don’t believe I did anything to offend him or start an altercation. It was as though he selected me at random as his target for a different rage.  

The passenger in the Pathfinder signaled that the 911 dispatcher wanted to speak with me if possible. With some hesitation, I stopped and the two men in the Pathfinder stopped along side me. The passenger handed me the phone through the window as the man in the Cadillac pulled over in front of them and exited his car — again. Again, he ran toward me. This time I prepared to leave my bike, aware that I not only wore a helmet, but wore gloves with armor protection over the fingers. The man’s son exited the car and convinced his dad to get back in the car before the cops arrived. He headed the kid’s advice and took off at a high rate of speed. 

The emergency dispatcher asked that I wait until a police unit arrived. I thanked the two men who shielded me and they went on their way. I waited for roughly 15-minutes for the police before I decided to continue my ride. I’d given my own phone number to the emergency dispatcher and figured the police would call at some point if they wanted to investigate the incident. I’ll follow up with the police later today.

(end of entry)

Once I realized the man I’d been enjoying smalltalk with at the airpark was the same man from the incident a few weeks earlier, I got cautious, though I was sure he didn’t recognize me. Mom and I continued to walk laps of the parking lot, and each time we passed by him, he’d smile and comment about the weather or how pretty mom‘s hat was.

This was a completely different man.  

He man was clear-eyed, present, and genuinely nice. I overheard him having a conversation with his son in the car beside him. They laughed and joked. As we passed him for the final time, I wished him well for the balance of his weekend… 

“You too, bro…“ he said. 

As I drove mom home, I tried to reconcile all of this — that this was the drunk who tried to run me off the road weeks earlier. Yesterday though, I considered inviting him to see my workout studio. Like the pregnant woman I saw smoking a few weeks ago, I know nothing about this man. I can only hope he spends more time as the man I saw yesterday — joking with his son and telling my mom she had a pretty hat. And I’ll hope his days of drinking, driving, and picking fights on the road are in the past — but I’ll keep my eyes open just the same.  

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 175

Climbing: 7,800’

Mph Avg: 15.7

Calories: 10,000

Seat Time: 11 hours 06 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Sundial. Enjoy…

A Holiday For All…?

We celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States last week. Like most holidays, it has evolved over generations to be something different from it’s original intentions. The Thanksgiving we celebrate today is different than the one past presidents and legislative bodies have advanced, canceled, and tweaked at their whim.

Scroll social media on Thanksgiving morning and you’ll see memes, cartoons, and outright proclamations declaring that, like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving was born from exploiting natives, setting them up for internment, slavery, and genocide. And certainly there’s truth to that at the roots. Yet I know of nobody who gathered around the table this past Thursday, held hands, and thanked the Lord Almighty for making the Indians such easy prey. Most I know were just glad to spend time with friends and family, and as is often the case, just as glad to hit the road as soon as the last bite of pie went down or the Cowboys lost — whichever came first. 

And don’t get me started on Christmas or Easter. Nothing is stagnant and everything changes, holidays included. Christmas, Independence Day, Passover, even Memorial Day are all different now than at their inception. Like religions, holidays evolve and mutate based on the ever-changing facts on the ground. And as a result, every holiday from Halloween to Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently today than it was just a few generations ago. And as holidays have evolved, they’re bound to draw more people in as they push others away, reinforcing divisions in culture. 

I’ve long believed we should drop one more holiday into the mix though, and probably the only one we need — because we could all use it. No, not Peace Day, Kindness Day, or even Hugs Day, but Decorum Day. Decorum Day would be secular, celebrated as a national holiday, and provide an opportunity for everyone to just be civil to one another for 24-hours. Who could argue with that…? A day of respect, right speech, and biting one’s tongue.

Of course Decorum Day would never work — not in the United States. It would have its detractors from the beginning. Decorum Day would limit free speech. Religious institutions would complain of its godlessness. It would have to be administered by the government — good luck there. And eventually, Hallmark, Lexus, and CNN would brand it and monetize it. 

But the real reason Decorum Day wouldn’t work, isn’t because of the reasons I just mentioned. Decorum Day wouldn’t work because most people wouldn’t be capable of adhering to it’s simple doctrine — to conduct themselves with dignity, act with decency, speak sparingly, and deescalate when in the path of verbal confrontation. We’re just not capable of it — or are we…? I dunno 🤷🏼‍♂️.

At the end of the day, I’ve come to realize that holidays are a lot like Frankenstein — they are created by man, grow to have a life of their own, and eventually become monsters that we can’t control. Why should Decorum Day be any different…?

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 152

Climbing: 6,600’

Mph Avg: 16.0

Calories: 8,800

Seat Time: 09 hours 31 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Taj Mahal. Enjoy…

I’m Her Mrs. Horsley Now…

During my grade school years, my mother worked at a nearby nursing home, The Aspen Siesta. Mom was one of two RNs that worked the swing-shift, along with several medical assistants, and the kitchen staff. Mom was often the person in charge during her shifts.  

The Aspen Siesta was s small, but high-end facility. The owner, Ruthann Horsley, insisted on being called Mrs. Horsley — by everyone including the staff, the residents, and even her husband, Dr. Horsley, who was the co-administrator. 

Because the Aspen Siesta was close to  our home, I often spent my after school hours there. My brother, four years older, was usually involved in extracurricular activities or with friends, and mom didn’t want me home alone. So long as I wasn’t disruptive or a distraction to my mom, Mrs. Horsley allowed me to be there.  

I’d sit at a table in the corner of the dining room and pretend to do homework while I daydreamed about flying fighter jets, being the next Terry Bradshaw, or robbing banks — one of which was a more natural fit than the others. Each day at 4pm, a crowd of canes and wheelchairs would gather around the console television in the commons area to watch the Merv Griffin show.

Every so often, Mrs. Horsley would stop by my table to check on me. If I was lucky, she’d lay down a square of Pepperidge Farms coconut cake. Even as a kid I recognized the kindness in that gesture and always thanked her. Despite that kindness, Mrs. Horsley commanded the room whenever she entered it. Staff and residents alike listened to her every word and nobody dared talk back.

One afternoon while doing my homework, a female resident approached the table where I was seated. She quietly picked up a potted plant from the center of the table — and began taking bites from it. I was petrified. It was the first time I became aware of the vulnerability and lack of mental acuity in the elderly. Mrs. Horsley saw the woman and used her commanding voice to stop her, subsequently taking the plant from her hand. I was grateful she intervened, but her loud voice scared me just as much. 

After that incident, I found myself paying more attention to the behaviors of the residents. I noticed their trembling hands, food falling from their mouths, their clumsy feet, and their faint voices. I developed an aversion to the elderly — something that would stay with me for years.

I  asked my mom about it once — about how she could stand being around old people. They were so gross, I thought. She told me it was her job and taking care of them mattered to her more than the things she found offensive. She also encouraged me to see beyond it — to consider they were all children once, just like me. 

I’ve been thinking about all of this lately — reflecting on my time at the Aspen Siesta.

My mother is no longer the nurse in charge — she’s now the resident. I frequently wipe food from her mouth as she eats. Her voice, especially late in the day, is often too weak to understand. She hasn’t attempted to eat a floral centerpiece yet, but she recently had a conversation with a flashlight as though it were her friend of 20-years. In helping her get in and out of bed, I occasionally see her backside. I’ve even assisted her in the bathroom a time or two. And through all of this, it’s never been gross. I see beyond it, as mom encouraged me to do 50-years ago.

And in those moments when it becomes necessary to assert my authority or gain her trust, I leverage those visceral memories by taking her back in time with me. I say things like…

Think of me as your Mrs. Horsley now…

This is your own private Aspen Siesta...

What would nurse Willie do…?

Fifty-years ago — while sitting at a table in a nursing home adding fractions in a workbook as the Merv Griffin show played in the background, and with Mrs. Horsley barking commands at the staff and residents alike, I had no idea I was in a training program for the life that I now live. I’m honestly not sure though, if I’d handle the responsibilities of caregiving in the same way had I not spent those afternoons learning what elder care is all about — the good, bad, and ugly of it all.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 146

Climbing: 6,500’

Mph Avg: 15.8

Calories: 8,300

Seat Time: 09 hours 11 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Fury In The Slaughterhouse. Enjoy…

No Rush To Judge…

As we do most days before I ride, mom and I headed to the local airpark the other day for lunch and a walk. Lunch is usually fast food from a local drive-thru. I do my best to order the healthiest options, but she gets more of a pass than I do.

The long narrow parking lot at the airpark parallels the 2,200-foot runway. There’s a half-dozen picnic tables where families, business people, and even teens can enjoy lunch while watching small planes in action. Most days there’s a handful of cars aimed directly west watching the planes takeoff and land from north to south. 

Children leave their parents to climb the short chain-link fence and get a better view, while their moms scurry to setup lunch at the picnic tables. There might be one or two aviation buffs in pickup trucks listening to scanners as they judge the quality of each landing. The cars with tinted windows, peeling Sublime stickers on the rear bumper, and smell like burning weed carry teenagers who’ve released themselves on their own recognizance from the high school a half-mile away. 

The airport sits on a plateau a couple hundred feet above town, so the onshore wind is strong. Mom and I prefer to stay in the car and eat while we listen to The World on public radio. After mom’s food settles, we get out and walk the length of the parking lot a couple of times. It’s her daily workout.

One day last week, toward the end of our first lap, I saw a woman with a long brown ponytail, maybe in her 30s, sitting on a picnic table smoking a cigarette. She was all alone. I said hello as we passed, and she nodded without speaking. I didn’t think much of it. My only thought was that she looked old enough to know the dangers of cigarettes. When mom and I returned for our second lap, the woman on the table stood up and began walking toward a well-worn Jeep Cherokee. It was then I noticed she was pregnant. 

I probably rushed to ten different judgments in just a few seconds, not the least of which was that I labeled her a bad person — I didn’t want to, but I did. She turned back as she opened the Jeep door and I could see in her face that she could see me judging her. It was a poignant moment.

When I rode my bike past the airpark later that day, I relived that moment of poignancy. She looked ashamed to be seen smoking while pregnant, and I felt sinful for judging her without knowing the whole story. And I’m certain there was a story far behind that moment.

Maybe it was just one cigarette. Maybe she’s had a healthy pregnancy, but had a stressful day and decided to have just one. Maybe she smokes 12 a day — maybe 20. Maybe she’s in an abusive relationship and smoking is a momentary refuge. Maybe she’s so stricken by the addiction of smoking that she can’t quit no matter how hard she’s tried. Maybe she has no support system — for the smoking or for the pregnancy. I’ll never know any of that. 

The only thing I know for certain is that I was quick to judge and I shouldn’t have been. I’ve never walked a single step in her shoes. But then, I’ve never walked a single step in anyone’s but mine. My lesson from the thought-chew that afternoon was to stay in my own lane — both on the road and in life. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 174

Climbing: 7,700’

Mph Avg: 15.6

Calories: 9,900

Seat Time: 11 hours 03 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Public Image Limited. Enjoy…

Keeping My Head…

Like most everyone else, my head has been spinning these last few years. Noise coming from every direction, voices getting louder, and the sense of urgency increasing with new crisis. And there’s a new crisis nearly every hour, each one with a little more gravity than the previous. And the crowd breaks as cleanly as two saltine crackers — between us and them, and the crumbs from the middle fall to the ground.

My political compass fluctuates just a few percent on either side of center. In matters of culture and social orientations, I lean a little bit to the left. In matters of fiscal accountability and defense (defense being defined as protecting our interests within our own borders), I lean a little bit to the right. In matters of conducting myself with decency and decorum, I lean straight in. 

If I’ve been disappointed with anything these last few years, aside from the behaviors of our elected officials and media pundits who illuminate them, it’s with the way my fellow citizens have conducted themselves in conversations with one another. We are a nation of middle-schoolers. 

I’m proud of a lot of things these days…

I’m proud that since January, I’ve taken just 12 days off riding. I’m proud that in that time I’ve hit my weekly goal of 100-miles — usually by Wednesday. I’m proud that I haven’t once looked out the window and thought it was too rainy, too windy, too hot, or too cold to ride. Okay, once. I’m proud that in the three years since I began this blog, I’ve missed only one Sunday.

Away from my bike, I’m proud of other things…

I’m proud that I’ve gotten my mom out of the house for a short walk or drive, all but a handful of days in four years — even during the pandemic. Same goes for my dog. I’m proud that I show up for work every day, even after my many sleepless nights. I’m proud that I treat each client as if they’re my only one. 

I’m proud that I never let my daughter’s calls go to voicemail, that I pay my bills on time, and that I spend time in contemplative prayer every morning of my life — even when I’m running late. I’m proud that I take time each day to listen to three songs I’ve never heard before.

I’m sure that all seems a lofty, but I’m proud of those things.

The thing I’m most proud of though, through these last few years, is that I haven’t lost my head — not once. I haven’t called anyone a name. I haven’t belittled anyone. I haven’t allowed my behaviors to get ugly in public or private. I’ve conducted myself with decency and decorum. 

I’ve remembered the one value my father instilled in me growing up, that mattered to him more than any other. In the words of Kipling, paraphrased, dad reminded me regularly…

“Son, if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you are a man…” 

I’ve certainly had my opinions in these last few years, and I’ve definitely run the gambit of emotions. I’ve wanted to throw my television set through the window. I’ve wanted to push some people down tall flights of stairs. I’ve wanted to set fire to some buildings, turn over some cars, and I’ve even wanted to drive through a crowd or two — but I’ve kept my head, because that’s what adults do.

Again, if this too sounds lofty, I get it — I’m lofty. But whatever the opposite of lofty is, I don’t want to be that — ever. There are far too many people filling that role as it is.

This is what I think about when I ride…. Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 5

Miles: 125

Climbing: 5,500’

Mph Avg: 16.0

Calories: 8,000

Seat Time: 07 hours 49 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Blaze Foley. Enjoy…

Identity Crisis…

In a few weeks, it’ll be the 3rd anniversary of his blog. It began with a simple notion — that I have a love of cycling, smartphone photography, and writing. Since I practice each of those daily, it appealed to me to combine the three in a creative outlet.

The idea was that after each ride, I’d jot down a few thoughts I chewed on while riding, combine them with a picture or two I took along the road, and post it the following morning to the Spoke And Word page I created on Facebook. What actually happened though, is that each night for three years I’ve written a complete essay instead of a few passing thoughts. And for people who aren’t on Facebook, I created this platform so on Sundays I can select my favorite essay from the previous week and share it.

I often tell people that I write these in 20-minutes or less. That was true once, and still is occasionally, but usually these days I spend an hour or so working on them, reworking them, and getting them to flow and fit properly. Sometimes I do this before bed, but most often before the sun comes up — before my day job.

There’s also the time I spend cropping and editing photographs. I don’t edit pictures a great deal. I crop them according to proportion and symmetry, and I might adjust the light and contrast a little bit, but I rarely adjust the color or tint. That said, it still takes a few minutes to complete each photograph. 

Between writing and editing photographs, I probably spend 75 to 90 minutes on this each day. That, combined with roughly 2-hours on my bike, and that’s 3+ hours dedicated to this creative hobby — every single day. It can all be a little exhausting, considering I work full-time and am also a full-time caregiver.

The initial goal was to do this for one year. 

I had so much fun with it, and with my creative juices flowing, I continued into a second year. The second year came and went, and I noticed I had an extremely small but dedicated following. The whole thing started to become my identity. I’ve never had an identity before, other than being the eccentric old guy in the neighborhood that kids are told to avoid. I’ve enjoyed having this identity, even if I’m the only one that sees it. 

As I wind down my third year, catering to and preserving that identity has caused me to press a little more. I feel I have to get my rides in each day. I have to get a few good photographs each day. I have to think of something at least a little interesting or clever to write about. There’s almost a sense of obligation to that identity. 

The thought of beginning a fourth year next month is a little intimidating. I have this thing in me though, that if I start something, I have to see it through. If I go even one day into a fourth year, then I’ll need to complete it. I worry that all that pressing might actually be changing that identity — diluting it, weakening it, or causing it to veer off course. I dunno 🤷🏼‍♂️.

Riding, writing, and taking photographs — an identity I enjoy, but one I don’t want to do out of obligation or have come off the rails. Lots to think about in the coming weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

This is what I think about when it ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 154

Climbing: 6,700’

Mph Avg: 16.0

Calories: 8,900

Seat Time: 09 hours 42 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Spooky Tooth. Enjoy…

The Influence Of Three…

When I was 12-years old I received the book Pumping Iron — a gift from my mom. Being reading challenged, and knowing I was already interested in bodybuilding, she thought it might pull me in to read more.

I’d keep that book within reach for the next five or six years — often looking through it daily. The photographs where my primary motivation to get into the weight room each night. By the age of 18 though, I still hadn’t read the book — not from beginning to end. I read the captions under the photographs, but that was it. 

When I was preparing to take my GED, and knew I needed to improve my reading comprehension, Pumping Iron was my starting point. I figured that reading about my primary interest would serve me better than picking up a book on physics or game theory. So I opened Pumping Iron and read it from beginning to end.

The book highlighted the the offbeat world of competitive bodybuilding, focusing on several local and international bodybuilding competitions in the early 70s. The true subject of the book though, was a compelling figure named Arnold Schwarzenegger and his preparation for the 1973 Mr. Olympia competition. 

I wouldn’t know it as a 12-year-old or even as an 18-year-old, but that book would influence me throughout my life, and for different reasons during different decades. Pumping Iron ultimately lead me far beyond the rusty iron plates and torn vinyl benches of the weight room. It was a three-tiered influence that helped forge the creative me. 

The first influence was that I wanted to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m still waiting for that to pan out, but don’t hold your breath. I skipped my workout last night to write this, and dinner was a half-dozen egg rolls soaked in sweet-and-sour sauce — but I did take my creatine. 

As a creative outlet, bodybuilding became front and center to my life. It’s fair to say I’ve built my entire life around the weight room. I may not have become the next Arnold, but bodybuilding has been my primary form of expression for 48-years. 

The second influence of Pumping Iron was writing. When I opened the book to actually read it, something changed in me. Charles Gaines is an artist with words. Every page include at least one phrase or sentence that was so clever that I wanted to keep reading until the next page — and the next page always led me to another. I wouldn’t realize it for a few more years, but Charles Gaines made me want to be a writer — every bit as much as Arnold inspired me to be a bodybuilder. To this day, a primary objective is to include at least one well-turned phrase in each essay. 

If Pumping Iron had a secret weapon though, it was the black-and-white photography of George Butler. For the photographs in the book, Butler used a vintage Leica camera and Tri-X film which he developed himself. There are only two (non-historic) photographs in the book not taken by Butler, both taken by Annie Liebowitz. Leibowitz, after the book’s publication, sent Butler a note apologizing for dumbing down the quality of the photography. Imagine that. 

When I started my business in Fallbrook in 2001, I built my own website, created my own marketing materials, and used only my own photography. Being true to Butler’s influence, I took only black-and-white photographs in my weight room, and only in natural light. To this day, whenever I take or edit a black-and-white photograph, I think of George Butler. 

I never created anything close to the physique of Arnold. I’m proud of my writing, but it’s amateurish at best. And my photography…? I’ve taken a few gems, but nothing worthy of any awards. That’s cool. 

George Butler passed away last week. When I was riding after learning of this, I got to thinking about the influence that he and his friend Charles Gaines, and the object of their creativity, Arnold Schwarzenegger have had on my life. And in truth, the influence Gaines, Butler, and Schwarzenegger have had on popular culture is far greater than one might see on the surface.

In reflection, I remind myself that creativity is like a message in a bottle — you throw it out there, but you never really know who’s going to open it and how it’s going to influence them. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 180

Climbing: 7,900’

Mph Avg: 15.3

Calories: 10,300

Seat Time: 11 hours 45 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Coleman Williams. Enjoy…

Brief Thoughts From The Road…

It’s been a busy few weeks in my Spoke And World. Still, I’ve managed to get on the road every day. Below are a handful of my shorter thought-chews from the last seven rides. I put these blurbs up on Facebook each Monday through Saturday mornings. If you enjoy them, please follow me there for daily updates. Trust me, it’s the best thing on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SpokeAndWordJhciacb/ 

Daylight Dying Time: 

I’ve been obsessing on some remarkable statistics that I only recently learned. That each year, on the Monday after the spring time change, when we lose one hour of sleep, emergency room heart attacks increase by 24%. Conversely, on the Monday after each autumn time change, when we gain an hour of sleep, there’s a 21% decline in emergency room heart attacks. In the two states that don’t observe Daylight Savings Time, Arizona and Hawaii, emergency room heart attacks don’t spike in either direction. 

I have nothing to add to that. I just find it remarkable that we know this and do nothing about it. 

Gosh Yang It:

I just completed Andrew Yang‘s most recent book, Forward. Whatever your feelings might be for Yang, he sees the future in more realistic terms than any American politician — in my opinion. He recognizes that the world has changed more in the last 10-years than in the last 40-years combined. It’s time the rest of us acknowledge that too.

Yang understands that the bread and butter issues which have driven conversations, campaigns, and subsequently policy for decades are being overtaken today by issues which many politicians don’t even acknowledge — or are afraid to. Job loss due to automation, climate change, and expanding income inequity are among his top priorities. But that’s not what I want to talk about. 

The mid-chapters in Yang‘s book explore and tie together the impacts of social media, changes in journalism, technology manipulation such as deep fakes, bots, algorithms, and the impact that the mining and the sale of data and personal information all have on political campaigns — and he does it in a way that would be beneficial for everyone to read. I don’t care what your political slant is or what your values are, everyone can learn something from this book.

The Responsibility Of Curtness:

A few months back I released a client. She was good in the weight room — strong, generally focused, and capable. She was also passive-aggressive and a bit mouthy — often to a fault. When she entered my studio for what would be her final session, among the first thing she said to me that day was…

“I know I can be curt. So you have to tell me — you need to let me know when I overstep any professional boundaries…”

So far as I’ve ever been taught, that’s not how bad behavior works, and certainly not in a business environment. She had literally just put the onus of her own bad behavior on me. After the session I sent her a note letting her know I wouldn’t be renewing her sessions which had expired that day.

I’m normally able to let go of things like that, but this one’s still lingering. Anyway, it showed up a couple of times riding this week. 

Clear The Land — And The People: 

Transformed by years of drought, what was once the San Luis Rey River, is more or less the San Luis Rey Woodlands these days. The river still runs when it rains, and if there’s enough rain, it’ll run all winter, but only through a small swath of the once wide river bed. Through the last decade or so, each year a young forest springs up through the sands beneath the river that is no more. And the channel people once kayaked and canoed in, is now home to hundreds of homeless. 

This is the time of year when the county, in preparation for a possible rainy season, begins clearing that growth in the riverbed with bulldozers and heavy equipment. All of this, to allow the river to flow freely and minimize risk from flooding. However, in clearing the growth, they level dozens of shelters, tents, and barriers which protect the hundreds who call the riverbed home. 

This is a seasonal event, so I’m certain nobody was taken by surprise. And there’s still enough growth in the periphery of the riverbed that people can find shelter, put up tents, and be protected. It’s just my annual reminder of how fragile it is to be homeless. I wish them all well in their forced relocations. 

The Breezes Are Heaven:

Las Brisas is a Mexican restaurant I pass on my homestretch. It’s an institution in Fallbrook. I don’t eat there often due to limited vegan and vegetarian options, but I’ll say this…

Las Brisas is the best smelling restaurant on the planet. It sits between a BBQ restaurant and an Italian restaurant. Despite this, and as I ride past, all I can smell is Las Brisas. If heaven smells like steamed corn tortillas, I might have to straighten up my act — that I get in and get a good seat.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 180

Climbing: 7,300’

Mph Avg: 15.2

Calories: 10,200

Seat Time: 11 hours 49 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Don Walker. Enjoy…

Ed’s Last Flight…

Shortly before heading out the other day, I read that Ed Beauvais had passed away. He was 84. Beauvais was a giant in the aviation industry, and was a member of the Aviation Hall of Fame.

Beauvais was best known as the founder and CEO of America West Airlines. Prior to that, he had an extensive career as an aviation executive and consultant with Frontier Airlines (the original incarnation), Western Airlines, and Continental Airlines. However, in the 1980s and early 90s, Beauvais put Phoenix on the aviation map. 

I was fortunate to work for America West in the early days. I was hired as a security guard when the company had just 900 employees. Within a few years, the company grew to nearly 10,000. Because of that phenomenal growth, I was able to coax my way into an analyst position in the Pilot Planning department, despite my lack of experience, and I remained there for the next couple of years. My analyst gig was my first adult job after leaving the Coast Guard, and changed my life in many ways. But back to Ed…

The thing I remember most about Ed Beauvais, and something I still think of often, is that he was a people’s CEO — in the same way Tommy Lasorda was a player’s coach in major league baseball.

Every other Tuesday, unless he was legitimately unable to do it, Ed worked a 6-hour shift throwing bags on the ramp at Sky Harbor Airport. He wore the burgundy coveralls that all America West ramp employees wore. He wore steel toed boots. He wore ear protection. He threw bags. He rolled up his sleeves. He even ate crappy chicken salad sandwiches out of cellophane wrappers. And he kept up with the best of them. 

A part of my job was to run pilot scheduling information from my office to the ramp a couple times each day. Occasionally I’d see Ed cutting it up in the break room with other ramp employees. I might also see him standing under a 757 offloading bags and covered in sweat. 

Ed was the most passionate person I’ve ever known in a business environment, and was relentlessly positive. I have few memories of seeing him without a smile on his face. Ed was a visionary. He started the first in-house travel agency of a major airline — Ameriwest Vacations. He also created the concept of fully cross-trained and cross-utilized CSR (all ground personnel). As he used to say…

“There are only CSRs…”

Ticket agent

Baggage handler

Gate agent

Flight attendant

Reservation agent 

There were no specialists. Every person hired in at that level was cross-trained in all of those positions, and therefore could be utilized at any of them. People could bid their seniority — a senior employee who wanted to work in-flight could do that, but they had to take at least one rotation off per quarter and work a different job. The thing America West was most known for, was also Ed’s idea… free cocktails on all flights. No wonder America West took over Phoenix in just a few years.  

Ed Beauvais personally signed off on me, a low-level analyst with no aviation degree, to help start a crew-base in Honolulu, in preparation for regular service to Nagoya Japan. Shortly after I returned from that assignment, I left America West to return to Colorado. It was a bittersweet departure, because America West was the first corporate family I’d ever had — and Ed Beauvais was the patriarch. 

There’s a handful of business leaders who influenced my early adult life. Ed Beauvais is at the top of that list.

There’s something else though, something I couldn’t find in any of the obituaries and articles I read about him after he passed, but I can speak to it personally…

Ed Beauvais told a joke to somebody every day of his life — or at least he did during my time at America West. He believed that humor in the workplace was a gateway to better morale, and to this day, I believe that to be true. To underscore Beauvais’ sense of humor I’ll throw one more at you before I close this…

My partner in the Pilot Planning department and I spent so much time there during a particularly difficult phase, that we actually pitched a tent in the middle of the office — as a comical protest. We even hung out there in our downtime. One morning Beauvais walked past the tent, and without slowing or looking down, he dropped a paper bag at the tent door. It was a bag of marshmallows, some graham crackers, and a few Hershey bars — for making s’mores. 

Ed Beauvais got his final pair of wings this week. If he’s as true to his form in heaven as he was on earth, I’m certain he’ll try and start an airline there. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 175

Climbing: 7,900’

Mph Avg: 15.1

Calories: 9,900

Seat Time: 11 hours 33 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Bellrays. Enjoy…

Chasing Joe’s Musical Argument…

My friend Joe likes to stir up complicated discussions on Facebook — he’s a lawyer, so he’s pretty good at it. It’s usually politics and religion with Joe, but occasionally he’ll throw music into the mix. Just before I headed out for a ride the other day, I saw this on Joe’s feed…

I was just curious if any of my Facebook friends want to make a case that popular music is even close to what it was 30-years ago and before…

Occasionally, Joe swings and misses, but he has the ability to hit one out of the park. This particular discussion didn’t disappoint. It also got me thinking…

…Joe is 100% right on this one. I spent much of my riding time that day formulating why that’s the case. It’s a discussion I’ve had with my music friends many times over. This was my reply to Joe’s question…

The simple answer is this…

From the early 1950s through the mid-1990s, every genre of music evolved organically into its own — for the very first time. Every category of music was new. 

Sock-hop rock, British Invasion, bubble gum, British blues, psychedelic rock, country rock, disco, yacht rock, soul, funk, heavy metal, hair metal, punk, new wave, grunge, rap, hip-hop, gangsta rap — et all, had never been done before. 

What an extraordinary time in popular music

People took risks, tried new methods, participated in unlikely collaborations, took drugs that had never been taken before, evolved with ever-changing social norms, and through all of this, recording technology changed at an exponential rate. It was inarguably the most fertile time in popular music history.

The Big Bang of rock ‘n’ roll came in 1951, and it’s been expanding ever since. And like the Big Bang of the universe, the more it expands, the more complex it becomes. But the stuff that happened just after the Big Bang — those first 40 years of music, that’s when all the elements were formed. 

I let my answer with Joe end there, but I’ll expand on it a little bit more here…

The reason music from the 1950s through the 1990s is a cut above everything since, is because it was fresh. Notwithstanding there was less of it and there were fewer platforms to learn about it. We allowed ourselves to get more familiar with it. The playing field is theoretically better today — more artists, more music, and better platforms improve things for everyone. But with all the artists out there today, and all that music, we only become partially intimate with portions of it. 

I attempt to listen to new artists and new music, but the last time I discovered an artist who compelled me buy their entire catalog was probably 20-years ago. There’s just too much opportunity to jump around and try something else. We don’t just want to know what music is out there, we want to know what else is out there.

Though I missed the sock-hop stuff and the early British invasion, I’ve been around for everything since. My tastes have waxed and waned through the years. I’ve been a punk, a hick, a rocker, and from 1974 to 1978 I thought I was black. I rode the New Wave, couldn’t have been more excited to get the latest Pablo Cruise LP, and once walked 6-miles in the snow to see Molly Hatchet. Somewhere in-between I grew my hair out and got it permed so I’d look like Peter Frampton. I’d let a stranger into my house and walk away with all my bikes before I’d let him take my Steely Dan catalog.

It’s not that music isn’t good now. It’s that, in popular music anyway, it’s all been done before. The metaphor I’ll close with is this…

In 1977 if I recorded an album onto a cassette, it sounded good. But if I took that cassette and made a recording of it on another cassette, the sound was slightly diminished. And if I took the most recent cassette and recorded it onto another tape, it would be diminished that much more. Essentially that’s what’s been happening with popular music since the 1990s. Each time a genre gets copied, it gets diminished. It’s still music, but it’s not new — and there’s too much of it to get familiar with. That’s my take, and I’m stickin’ to it. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 178

Climbing: 7,900’

Mph Avg: 15.1

Calories: 10,100

Seat Time: 11 hours 51 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Otis Rush. Enjoy…